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Judge Indicts Four Police Officers in Anti-Jewish Bombing

July 31, 1996

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Three high-ranking police officers and a former officer were indicted Wednesday in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center that killed at least 86 people and injured 250 others.

The indictments mark a breakthrough for an investigating team that has come under fire in Argentina and abroad for its failure to identify the architects of the July 18 bombing. It was considered the worst attack on Jews outside Israel since World War II.

The four officers were charged with homicide on the grounds they allegedly supplied the van that was packed with explosives that leveled the seven-story Argentine Jewish Mutual Association building.

Prosecutor Eamon Mullen has said he hopes the bombers’ identities will come out in the course of the trial.

Charged were Chief Inspector Juan Jose Ribelli, Deputy Chief Inspectors Raul Edilio Ibarra and Irineo Leal and Mario Norberto Barreiro, a former deputy chief inspector.

They are part of a group of 15 current and former officers detained earlier this month on charges of operating a stolen car ring. The other 11 officers also were indicted, but on charges unrelated to the bombing.

Another suspect, Carlos Telleldin, was charged in 1994 with refurbishing the stolen van and handing it over to the ring, which sold it to the bombers, the judge in the case said.

Argentina, Israel and the United States have accused Iran-backed militants in the attack, but no firm links have been established.

Police originally believed as many as 95 people died in the attack, but local Jewish groups say 86 people were killed.

A similar bombing in March 1992 destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people and injuring more than 200. No one has been arrested or charged in that incident.

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